Stakeholders Calls for Partnerships to Drive Growth in Nigeria’s Maritime Sector

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In a pivotal event held on Thursday in Lagos, key stakeholders delved into the core themes of Nigeria’s blue economy and the modernization of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). The Third JournalNG Port Industry Town Hall Meeting provided a platform for discussing the essence of automation in fostering a productive blue economy, as well as shedding light on the future of Nigeria’s homegrown integrated trade platform.

 

Unlocking the Potential of Nigeria’s Blue Economy

The event commenced with a comprehensive exploration of Nigeria’s blue economy; a term that encapsulates an economic paradigm centered on the sustainable utilization of oceanic resources while prioritizing the conservation of marine ecosystems. The focus extends beyond economic growth and encompasses initiatives such as marine trade, tourism, renewable energy, and fisheries development.

One of the key drivers of Nigeria’s commitment to the blue economy is the aim to develop inland waterways, revamp coastal shipping and maritime logistics, create job opportunities, and reduce logistics costs, especially for the transportation of goods and agricultural produce across the country. Additionally, plans include harnessing renewable ocean energy, expanding fisheries and aquaculture, building seaports and shipping infrastructure, advancing marine biotechnology research and development, and promoting marine and cruise tourism. Moreover, the exploration of offshore hydrocarbons and seabed minerals is on the horizon.

The blue economy is not just an economic strategy; it also plays a vital role in mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. Oceans function as crucial carbon sinks, aiding in offsetting rising sea levels, changing ocean currents, and ocean acidification. As international maritime trade continues to grow, better waste management on land becomes imperative to preserve marine health and foster recovery.

Nigeria Customs Service: A Journey of Modernization

Wale Adeniyi, Comptroller General of Nigeria Custom Service (NSC) who was ably represented by CSC Mary-Anne Egwunyenga saying the modernization journey of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), a journey marked by a series of reform measures initiated by the government since 1998. These reforms have brought about positive changes in the operations of the NCS, enhancing its efficiency and effectiveness, he stressed.

 

CG continue, the Modernization Agenda of the NCS began with the automation of business processes, laying the foundation for visible trade facilitation, cost and time reduction, and simplification of the complex international trade supply chain. Over 54 stakeholders, including government agencies, have come on board to collaborate on this modernization journey while maintaining control and ensuring trade facilitation, he added.

 

“The journey toward automation has evolved over the years, transitioning from manual processes to the deployment of systems like ASYCUDA and ASYCUDA++, with subsequent enhancements such as the introduction of the Passenger Baggage Entry System (PBES), Stakeholder Integration, and the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR). Adeniyi further noted that The NCS has continually updated its processes to meet the demands of modern trade, including VIN valuation, web tracking, smart fraud detection, and tariff search with artificial intelligence.

 

He stated that stakeholders across various sectors, including corporate affairs, commercial banks, traders, terminal port operators, shipping and airlines, freight forwarders, and regulatory agencies, have been integrated into the Trade Portal/NICIS, ensuring seamless communication and information exchange. This integration is pivotal for monitoring and enhancing trade processes and security.

 

 

“The NCS has embraced the concept of e-Trade services, with plans to connect even more major stakeholders in the near future, further streamlining trade processes and promoting efficiency.

 

NICIS II: A Leap in Modernization

 

“A significant leap in the modernization of the NCS is the implementation of NICIS II, an upgrade that introduces new functionalities and requirements, including centralized manifest management, container transfers management, and strong authentication for users. NICIS II also modernizes customs infrastructure, introduces revised business processes, and emphasizes the use of smart fraud detection.

 

NICIS II architecture is designed to enhance trade facilitation by reducing processing time, allowing web-based access from various devices, enabling attachment of scanned documents for online submission, and implementing automated controls for data capture integrity. These improvements have already led to increased revenue and improved monitoring capabilities of ICT infrastructure.

 

Adeniyi reiterated that the NCS modernization project seeks to achieve a Single Window platform for digitalizing customs processes, upgrading ICT infrastructure, and addressing operational challenges using advanced technologies such as big data analytics and artificial intelligence.


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